As with the second film, Back to the Future Part III picks up right where the previous one left off. Marty gets a telegram from Doc, stating he is alive and well in 1885. Marty finds a tombstone with Doc’s name on it, indicating he died six days after sending the telegram, so Marty finds the DeLorean and uses it to travel back to save him.
One of my favorite parts of this film was the redone orchestration by Alan Silvestri. I loved how many of the themes were redone in a classic Western film style. I can hear the music going through my mind as I write this, and I don’t actually own the soundtrack (I need to correct that oversight). The music really made the film.
I loved Mary Steenbergen‘s role as Clara. The character was interesting, and while she was rescued at least twice by Marty and Doc, she knew how to handle herself and was no fainting damsel in distress. I thought she was a perfect match for the eccentric Doc, and the ending of Back to the Future Part III was just perfect.
Doc was given a bigger part in this film, which I thought was appropriate given how much influence he had in Marty’s life. He adapted wonderfully to life in the Old West, but still kept the unkempt weirdness that made him such a popular character in the first film. He also gave hope to shy nerds everywhere with his romance with Clara. If Doc can find true love, anyone can.
In the first two films, I found the characters played by Thomas F. Wilson to be two-dimensional and uninteresting. In Back to the Future Part III, I think Wilson finally found his niche. He played a wonderful outlaw cowboy. If people still made Westerns, he would have a decent career playing the same kind of character in them.
All three of the films in this series played fast and loose with time travel, and it really worked. The films were mostly fun (the second film just dragged things down for the most part) and were pretty consistent internally. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale kept the adventure aspect of the films at the forefront, only wandering off a little in the second film.
Back to the Future Part III is is my favorite of the three Back to the Future films. It just barely edges out the original film because I love Westerns. It returned to the fun of the first film and left the mediocre-ness (new word!) of the second film in the dust as it rode off into the sunset. I highly recommend this film!
Release Date: May 25, 1990 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (some drinking, bar scenes)
Language: 2 (mostly minor, a few deity and stronger)
Sexuality: 1 (innuendo, discussion of cost at brothel)
Violence: 2 (bar fights, gun fights, threats)